What is the Bilona Method? - Shajighee Shahji Ghee

What is the Bilona Method? - Shajighee

The traditional Bilona method is a time-honored practice used for making ghee for generations in India. In the Bilona method, fresh curd made from cows’ milk is churned to extract pure butter, which is then heated over a low flame until it turns into ghee.

Unlike modern methods that involve machines and chemicals, the traditional Bilona method is entirely natural and retains the nutritional benefits of the milk.

Below, we will discuss the Bilona method and will see why it's worth considering:

What is the Bilona method?

The Bilona method is an ancient technique of making ghee from fresh cow's milk. The process involves churning the curd through bilona to separate the butter and then heating it to remove the water content, leaving behind pure ghee. The term 'Bilona' refers to the traditional wooden churning apparatus called the wooden churner used in the process.

The traditional Bilona method of making ghee is a laborious process, as it involves manually churning the milk for hours to extract the butter. It is believed that this method produces the best quality ghee, with a rich aroma, taste, and texture.

The ghee made from the Bilona method is free from impurities and any harmful chemicals. The milk used in this process is typically sourced from the Indian cows that graze freely in the open field. These cows are not given any artificial hormones or antibiotics.

How to make ghee using the Bilona method? 

bilona method

As far as we know that the ghee made from the Bilona method is more beneficial than commercially manufactured ghee. If you want to make ghee using the Bilona method, follow these steps:

Step 1: Obtain fresh cow's milk

ghee milking

The first step in making ghee using the Bilona method is to obtain fresh cow's milk. It is important to use high-quality milk from free-ranging cows that are not given any artificial hormones or antibiotics. You can either purchase the milk from a local farmer or source it from a reputable supplier.

Step 2: Slowly Heating the Milk

Slowly Heating the Milk

Slow heating of milk helps to evaporate the water content in the milk, which allows the ghee to have a longer shelf life. By heating the milk slowly, the water content is removed gradually, which prevents the ghee from becoming too dry or brittle.

Slow heating is an important step in the Bilona method of making ghee because it helps to ensure that the ghee is of high quality and has a good flavor and texture.

Step 3: Ferment the milk to curd

Curd setting

Allow the fresh cow's milk to ferment for 8-10 hours to form curd. The curd should be thick and have a slightly sour taste. You can use a starter culture or simply leave the milk to ferment at room temperature.

Step 4: Churn the curd using a Bilona

churning by bilona method

Place the curd in a wooden churner known as a Bilona. Churn the curd manually for several hours until the butter separates from the curd. This process involves a lot of physical labor and patience, as it can take several hours to churn the curd properly.

Step 5: Heat the butter

Butter Heating

Collect the butter that has separated from the curd and transfer it to a heavy-bottomed pan. It is very important to use a heavy-bottomed pan so that the butter does not burn during the heating process.

Heat the butter over a low flame until it melts and starts to boil. Stir the butter continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As the butter heats, it will release water and milk solids. These impurities will settle at the bottom of the pan.

Step 6: Continue heating until ghee forms

 Continue heating until ghee forms

Continue to heat the butter over a low flame until it turns golden brown and releases a rich aroma. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the quantity of butter being used. As the ghee forms, the milk solids will separate and settle down at the bottom of the pan, and the water content will evaporate.

Step 7: Filter the ghee

 Filter the bilona ghee

Remove the pan from the flame and allow it to cool for half an hour. Filter the ghee using a muslin cloth or cheesecloth to remove any impurities. This will ensure that the ghee is pure and free from any milk solids or water content.

Benefits Of Making Ghee Through Bilona Method

One of the key benefits of the Bilona method is that the nutritional value of the milk is preserved. The churning and heating of the milk results in ghee that is high in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The Bilona method ghee is also said to have a higher smoke point than commercially produced ghee, making it a healthier option for cooking.

Moreover, the Bilona method is an eco-friendly option, as it does not require any machines or chemicals. So it does not contribute any pollutants to the atmosphere and helps to keep the environment clean. This process also supports local farmers and encourages them to keep freely grazed cows, which is a sustainable practice.

Benefits Of Eating Bilona Ghee

  • Nutritious: The Bilona method produces ghee that is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Digestive benefits: Ghee made from the Bilona method is easier to digest compared to other forms of ghee.
  • Flavorful: Ghee made using the Bilona method has a unique and distinct flavor that is appreciated by many.
  • Aromatic: The aroma of ghee made using the Bilona method is rich and pleasing.
  • Long shelf life: Ghee made using the Bilona method has a longer shelf life compared to other forms of ghee.
  • Free from harmful additives: Ghee made using the Bilona method is free from additives and chemicals, making it a healthier option.
  • Sustainable: The Bilona method is a sustainable and eco-friendly way of making ghee, as it involves manual churning using a wooden churn.
  • Preserves local traditions: The Bilona method is a part of the Indian cultural heritage, and its use helps preserve traditional methods of food preparation.

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Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

What is the Bilona method?

The Bilona method is an ancient technique of making ghee from fresh cow's milk that involves churning the curd manually using a wooden churner known as a Bilona.

What are the benefits of using the Bilona method?

The Bilona method produces ghee that is free from impurities and harmful chemicals. The ghee is also rich in aroma and taste and retains the nutritional benefits of the milk.

Can I use any type of milk to make ghee using the Bilona method?

It is recommended to use high-quality fresh cow's milk from free-ranging cows that are not given any artificial hormones or antibiotics.

How long does it take to make ghee using the Bilona method?

The process can take several hours as it involves manually churning the curd and continue heating the butter until the ghee forms.

Can I use a machine instead of a Bilona to make ghee?

Although it is possible to use a machine, the Bilona method is preferred as it retains the nutritional benefits of the milk and produces ghee that is rich in taste and aroma.

Is ghee made using the Bilona method suitable for people with lactose intolerance?

Ghee made using the Bilona method is free from lactose and is therefore suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

How long can I store ghee made using the Bilona method?

You can store ghee made using the Bilona method at room temperature for a few weeks or in the refrigerator for several months. It is important to store it in an airtight container to prevent it from going rancid.

Conclusion

The Bilona method of making ghee is a time-honored practice that has been used for generations in India. This traditional method is entirely natural and retains the nutritional benefits of the milk, making it a healthier option than commercially produced ghee.

The process is also eco-friendly and supports local farmers, making it a sustainable practice. If you're looking for a pure and natural option for ghee, consider trying the Bilona method.

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